This article is called how to use Competitive Intelligence in recruitment and looks at what you can get by looking at your competitors’ job advertising and at your own team’s track record. When conducting Competitive Intelligence, you should look at your direct and indirect competitors hiring activities. Their recruiting activities can provide you with significant insight into what their next moves are.
What is Competitive Intelligence?
Competitive Intelligence is the ethical collection and analysis of competitive information to enable you to avoid surprises, think more moves ahead, and minimise uncertainty to enable more informed strategic decisions. It gives you the ability to differentiate yourself and stay ahead of the competition, and in many cases, can be the unspoken, hidden key to success.
Down the right path
It is highly unlikely that your competitor is putting job adverts out to put you off the scent of what they are doing and leading you down the wrong path. In the UK it is illegal to place a job advert without an actual real job available. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen, especially within a minority of organisations within the recruitment agency world. But it is a good assumption that it is probably not the case.
However unlikely, you have to take into account that it is feasible that a competitor may place adverts to throw you off the scent. So like all things you should verify anything you find.
How to use Competitive Intelligence in recruitment
Looking at job postings and talking to competitors at recruitment fairs you will get an understanding of where they are spending their money. Now, some competitors will tell the world that they are opening a new factory or moving to a new office. Some won’t or will be doing something new within an existing operation.
So, try looking at the job titles they are recruiting for? What skills and qualifications do applicants need? Also, what has your recruitment team heard about the company when talking to candidates and recruiters?
What to look at for
When looking at their recruitment activity, ask what is this recruitment activity telling me?
- Where in the country are they recruiting? Do they currently have an operation there? Does it indicate a new operation, expansion, relocate or contraction? We have seen this sort of thing missed several times.
- Are they advertising brand new positions or replacements? Do they have retention issues? If so, why? How long are the jobs open for? Does this suggest they are struggling to recruit? Why is that?
- Does it reveal a new set of skills and qualification which could indicate they are working on a new product or service?
- Are they looking for salespeople or digital marketers or distribution staff or specialist engineers or software developers? What does this tell you?
- Is there any hint as to where they are looking for staff? Deeper than geographical location but are they focusing on a competitors skill base, your employees or something completely different?
- Is the advertisement a replacement for someone who has left? Were they a vital member of the team? Where have they gone? Are they available and do you want them?
- What are they offering in terms of package and benefits? Something you could add to your package? Does this make the competitor’s jobs more attractive to your people? What do you want to do about it?
- Are they many CVs within job boards of their current employees looking for a new role?
- What about the CVs of their former employees? What does this tell you? When did they leave? We have seen activity like this in the past where it highlighted a sustained redundancy program in our clients supposedly successful competitor. We have isolated this sort of thing which was missed several times.
What makes a great employee?
You can also use Competitive Intelligence to look at your people. To determine what makes a great team member within your organisation. Look at their track record and assess what your best people have done in the past and which university they went to. What did they study? Did they go to university? Have they been entrepreneurial? What makes the good people (and not so good people) tick?
Does that salesperson advert really need a degree in Modern History to develop relationships for your business? Is your receptionist or service manager great at what they do because they have gone through on the job training at John Lewis Partnership? The point is that if you don’t look and analyse the situation, you will never know.
Also, if you see a team member on a jobs board, it may a sign that they have itchy feet. It may be an excellent time to have a chat to see how they are doing and what the company can do for them.
We are sure there are plenty of analytics software solutions to take all the data and present you with a lovely chart. But we recommend conducting this sort of exercise manually. It needs your experience and intuition to see the patterns of activity and ask the question – So what?
As you can see this sort of insight will help you with your own recruiting and retention activities. And yes, of course, we can help.
Using Competitive Intelligence helps you understand where competitors are spending their money. What positions are they recruiting for so you are able to work out what they are doing. What their next move is going to be. This article is called how to use Competitive Intelligence in recruitment and looks at what you can get by looking at your competitors’ job advertising and looking at your own team’s track record.